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News of the Odd, April 2002


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Serpent-Infested Home in Bangladesh Cleared
 A snake charmer called to remove two cobras from a home near Dhaka unearthed more than 3,000 of the snakes, plus hundreds of eggs. Dudu Miah discovered the venemous cache under two houses, and said he would continue to look for more snakes. Panicked neighbors fled their homes as the serpents came to light. Cobras often move into houses in Bangladesh, where they feed on rats and other vermin.
(Reuters*, April 30, 2002)

Chocolate Theft Foiled by Noisy Refrigerator
A homeowner in Dusseldorf, Germany was awakened in the middle of the night by the noise her refrigerator makes when the door is open. She wandered out to the kitchen and closed the door, then went back to bed. In the morning, she discovered that her living room window had been forced open, and that three bars of Cadbury chocolate were missing from the 'fridge. An empty wrapper lay nearby. Police believe the burglar was frightened off by the noisy refrigerator.
(Ananova, April 25, 2002)

Sex and Pancakes Don't Mix
A couple in Romania both visited the hospital after an experiment in sex and cooking went awry. The woman was giving her partner oral sex while he made pancakes. He spilled hot oil down her back, and she involuntarily bit down, which caused him to hit her with the frying pan. She was admitted with burns from the oil and a head injury from the pan. He underwent 4 hours of surgery to repair the damage her teeth had done to his penis. It was the second such incident reported in Romania in two years.
(Ananova, April 19, 2002)

Firefighters Extract Man From Sex Aid
The Royal Sussex County Hospital in Britain had to call firefighters for help after the metal cutters they were using to extract a man from a steel ring that his penis was stuck through. The firefighters used a pair of two-man hydraulic jaws to cut through the ring. According to sub-officer Mick Collins: "He was trying to be very chatty to cover up his embarrassment but he must have walked in to the hospital like John Wayne."
(Ananova, April 19, 2002)

"Robin Hood" Pleads Guilty to Theft
John Loan, a 41-year-old Manhattanite who styles himself a modern-day Robin Hood, called Justice Micki Scherer "Your Majesty" as he pleaded guilty to embezzlement. He stole millions from his employer, Alliance Capital Management, and used most of the money to set up a recording studio which he allowed penurious musicians to use for free. The rest, he donated to charity or spent on his friends. When asked how he managed to take so much, he said, "I just typed up invoices. At my desk. And sent the invoices in." He faces up to three years in prison.
(Ananova, April 17, 2002)

Gun Safety Cops Lose Weapons
Two police officers from Raleigh, North Carolina lost their guns on their way to teach a gun safety course in Wilson, North Carolina. They arrived at the course location to discover that their two bags, containing an MP-5 submachine gun, capable of firing 800 9MM rounds per minute, and a handgun, were gone. Dozens of officers joined the search; it was called off after local citizens called to say they had found the weapons, lying on the pavement on separate motorways. Raleigh police officials have declined to comment.
(Ananova, April 17, 2002)

Sideways Swinging Patented
The United States Patent Office has just issued a patent for a method of swinging side-to-side on a swing, rather than front-to-back. The patent description also suggests that a "Tarzan-type yell" be included, to further enhance the experience. The patent application is almost certainly a joke. But the patent itself (No. 6,368,227), apparently, is not.
(Slashdot, April 16, 2002)

Medical Museum Houses Historical Oddities
The US National Museum of Health and Medicine in Washington, DC is home to John Wilkes Booth's spinal cord (and the bullet still lodged in it), an eggplant-sized hairball taken from the stomach of a teenaged girl, and a variety of other gruesome, fascinating, and just plain odd exhibits. (Contrary to popular belief, however, its collections do not include John Dillinger's penis.) Founded by a Civil War surgeon, the museum is dedicated to disseminating information it may be difficult to find elsewhere. Its researchers are among the best pathologists in the country, and it claims to have the finest DNA laboratories in the world. There is no charge for admission, but reservations are required.
(Reuters*, April 15, 2002)

Sex Shop Haunted by Untidy Prostitutes
The owner of a sex shop in Kent, England says he never really believed in ghosts, until he had to do business with them. His shop, Pillow Talk, stands on the site of a former brothel, and is apparently home to the ghosts of several prostitutes. Every morning, he says, the shop is littered with bras and panties, and French maid outfits are hanging from the backs of chairs. He wouldn't mind so much if they would clean up after themselves, but as it is, he's considering hiring a psychic to deal with the problem.
(Ananova, April 14, 2002)

Man Farts, Sets Genitals On Fire
A Danish man was having surgery to remove a mole from his backside when he broke wind. The gaseous emission was ignited by a spark from the electric knife the surgeon was using, and the man's genitals, which had been soaked in surgical alcohol, caught fire. He is suing the hospital for pain and suffering, and for the time he has had to take off work while he recuperates. "I've had to be booked off work for longer than expected and, besides the pain, I can't have sex with my wife," he says. The operation was halted immediately after the incident, which the surgeon claims no one could have forseen.
(Ananova, April 14, 2002)

Remains of Six Infants Found in Japan
A woman in Japan told the landlord of the building she was moving out of that she had "left some stuff there" for him "to get rid of." He sent in a cleaning crew, expecting the usual discarded household items. What they found instead was the plastic-wrapped remains of six infants. According to a police source, "[S]ome of the bones had started to go brown with age. At first glance, the bones looked like they belonged to animals." The 58-year-old woman said that she had given birth to all of the children, and that the last one was born about 12 years ago. Police say that it's likely the statute of limitations has run out, so they will be unable to prosecute her. One of her friends says, "She's been known for years for living it up and wasting her money... I guess she's given birth to the kids but let them die because she couldn't afford to bring them up. But, being a mother, she still wanted her children near here, so she carried the bodies from place to place wherever she went."
(Mainichi Daily News*, April 11, 2002)

"Mean" Pub Ghost in Worcestershire
The Mug House in Worcestershire is the home of a nasty ghost called "Bert." According to local legend, Bert was a wealthy, but unpleasant, man who used to drink at the pub. The owner, Wally Trow, once told him that if he were a ghost, he'd be too mean to frighten anyone. Soon after Bert died, strange noises began to be heard in the pub, such as footsteps in empty rooms. The current owner, Judy Allen, says she once saw the glass face of a clock blow off, and the clock stop, at 2:15 PM. The next day, again at 2:15, the clock started running again. "I can well believe this story about Bert," she says.
(Worcester Evening News, April 8, 2002)

Silent Version of Hamlet Plays in Washington, DC
Paata Tsikurishvili, an actor originally from the former Soviet Republic of Georgia, is directing a silent version of Hamlet at the Stanislavsky Theatre Studio in Washington, DC. He suggests that the audience should read the play before coming to see the production. He stresses that the actors are not mimes, like Marcel Marceau. Rather, they are attempting to "go straight to the core of Shakespeare's language and capture the images within the words."
(Ananova, April 5, 2002)

Pub Owner Takes Out Insurance Against Ghosts
 Terry and Shirley Meggs, who run the Royal Falcon Hotel, in Lowestoft, Suffolk, England, have purchased an insurance policy against their resident poltergeist. The Hotel sits next to an unused graveyard and was once the site of a girls' school. It is haunted by a monk who took his own life after being caught having an affair with either a student or another teacher. Mr. Meggs says, "I never believed in ghosts before... I saw glasses move across the bar and be picked up one night, and thought, what happens if it does something to hurt somebody." He has purchased insurance from a company called Ultraviolet, which charges 500 pounds per year for a policy that pays out 1 million pounds if staff or customers are killed or permanently injured by paranormal activity. Last year, Ultraviolet paid 100,000 pounds to the family of a woman who held their Spooksafe policy. Its investigators determined that a ghost had been responsible for her death, after she was thrown over the banister in her home and killed.
(Ananova, April 4, 2002)


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